Parties have paid large sums of money to get out of prison when charged with offenses against military orders and orders from the Treasury Department. Several cases have been brought to our knowledge this day, and we are now ferreting them out for the purpose of prosecution. While we intend to be vigilant in the discharge of our duty to our country, justice requires in all cases conviction only upon proper legal evidence, and while we are disposed to punish crime with the utmost severity, we are equally determined to protect the innocent who have been made the victims of designing, mercenary scoundrels.
We therefore recommend that this whole detective department be superseded by honest, upright men, whose acts will reflect credit and honor, and not disgrace, upon the army.
We have the honor to be, general, with great respect, your obedient servants,
W. H. H. TAYLOR,
Colonel, President of Military Commission.
C. H. ADAMS,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Member of Military Commission.
F. M. SMITH,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Recorder of Military Commission.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT MILITARY COMMISSION,
Memphis, February 13, 1863.
Major General STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,
Comdg. SIXTEENTH Army Corps:
GENERAL: Information has been received by this commission that H. L. Cleveland, chief of United States detectives in this city, has on various and sundry occasions been guilty of levying blackmail and receiving bribes from parties in custody, amounting to several thousand dollars, and as the case will have to be tried by us, we are at a loss to know whom to get to sign the charges.
The facts we have before us show conclusively that there is the most outrageous iniquity being practiced in that department that ever disgraced any people.
As our general commanding, and relying upon your superior knowledge of legal proceedings, we ask your advice or order to enable us to ferret out and expose the iniquitous practices of those who are in office and using their position for base and mercenary purposes, thereby bringing disgrace upon the whole army.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. H. H. TAYLOR,
Colonel, and President of Military Commission.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
February 13, 1863.
Major I. C. WOODRUFF,
In Charge of Bureau of Top. Eng., War Dept., Washington:
MAJOR: I have been often prompted, and as often restrained by considerations of delicacy and of strict military propriety, to endeavor to communicate with the general commanding the forces attacking Vicksburg, respecting the practicability of making a cut-off on the Mississippi River near that town. You are well aware that no one has made such extended observation, experiment, and investigation upon that